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Discussion: Radical Freedom and its Critiques

January 11 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Thursday we'll discuss the concept of Radical Freedom and its critiques.


Definition. The concept of Radical Freedom is foundational to certain existential and political doctrines. It posits that the optimal state for an individual or group of individuals is to be free without constraints or restrictions -- being self-autonomous, self-determining, self-empowered, etc. Examples from philosophy include Rousseau, Nietzsche, Hegel, existentialism, Rand. ***

The Critiques.

-- The Marquis De Sade's Critique. Radical freedom entails the complete unleashing of one's primal instincts for sex, violence, and perversion. Thus, radical freedom turns man not into his fullest and most realized version, but into a deplorable monster.

-- The Terrorist's Critique. Culture, community, and society place limits upon one's freedom, and thus, to be radically free, culture, community, and society must be destroyed. Thus, to seek radical freedom means becoming a terrorist.

-- The Nihilist's Critique. Reality is a prison. One is limited by one's body, one's mind, and the physical rules of our universe, and thus radical freedom cannot be achieved while one is in possession of one's body and mind, and an inhabitant within reality. They must all be renounced. Radical freedom is suicide.

-- The Tyrant's Critique. Freedom depends upon having personal power, but personal power is a zero-sum game. For one to have power necessarily entails that another relinquishes such power. The most powerful is the freest; he is a tyrant.

-- The Anarchist's Critique. Should freedom be equally distributed, no one will be left to perform the mundane but necessary tasks necessary for civilization to function -- everyone will be equally free, but civilization will have crumbled. ***

Any philosophical account which advocates for Radical Freedom either for an individual or group of individuals may have to address one or more of the above critiques, or else give up the notion -- thus embracing that limitations of freedom are necessary and desirable. At such a point, the account becomes what humanity should be empowered to do, and what his limitations should be.

Do you agree, or disagree?

[Daude's response forthcoming]


January 11
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Philosophy 101


Rendez Vous off Belmont
817 Southeast 34th Avenue
Portland, US
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